Last week, Turkey staged the inaugural edition of the Turkish Airlines Open on the European Tour. Now, the country is raising its sights – considerably.
And by considerably, I mean the Ryder Cup .
Yes, Turkish Golf Federation President Ahmet Agaoglu is eager to boost his country's stature in the world of golf. The best way to do that, he believes, is to shoot for the stars – and grab the 2022 Ryder Cup.
''We have the idea to host the Ryder Cup in 2022, but if anyone wants to skip it in 2018 [France] or 2014 [Scotland], we can take it,'' he told Sport Business International . ''We will bid for that. Turkey is in Europe [the nation generally competes in Europe in sports such as soccer]. But if we need to, we can build a course on the European side of Istanbul.''
A public-private partnership to lure the Ryder Cup likely would begin with Turkish Airlines. ''We will seriously consider bidding to host the Ryder Cup, '' Turkish Airlines Chairman Hamdi Topcu told Sport Business International. ''We have people in our company working on this and we discussed it with the Turkish Golf Federation on Saturday.''
The European Tour, which will play a big role in deciding where the 2022 Ryder Cup will be staged, is taking Turkey's interest seriously, according to The Independent newspaper in Ireland . Formal bids on the 2022 venue likely will be invited after the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles, the newspaper said, adding that European Tour Chief Executive George O'Grady ''was positive'' when asked about Turkey's chances of following 2018 host Paris.
Whether or not Turkey lands the Ryder Cup, the country also is interested in supplanting Dubai as the host of the European Tour's season-ending event, now known as the DP World Tour Championship – the 2013 edition of which is being played in Dubai this week.
''We are candidates for the [the European Tour's] 'Race to Antalya' or 'Race to Turkey' in 2016,'' said Agaoglu.